DETROIT, June 5, 2001 - The red Bowtie is back! Chevrolet general manager Kurt Ritter announced today that Chevrolet will compete in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series in 2002. "Beginning next year, Chevrolet will return to open-wheel ...
DETROIT, June 5, 2001 - The red Bowtie is back! Chevrolet general manager Kurt Ritter announced today that Chevrolet will compete in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series in 2002.
"Beginning next year, Chevrolet will return to open-wheel racing and the Indianapolis 500," Ritter said.
"We are very proud of Chevrolet's record in Indy car racing, which includes six straight Indianapolis 500 victories in 1988-1993," Ritter continued. "We are looking forward to continuing that winning heritage when we return."
"The return of Chevrolet to Indy Racing competition is another sign of growth for the Indy Racing League," said Tony George, president and CEO of the League. "There is no brand more identified with American racing than Chevrolet, and as we continue to grow the Indy Racing League, Chevrolet will be an important partner to us."
George also noted the strong contribution of General Motors to the Indy Racing League. "General Motors was there when we began the Indy Racing League, and Oldsmobile has been very important in getting us to where we are today. We look forward to this continuing relationship with the GM family."
Chevrolet will return to the arena of open-wheel racing after an eight-year absence. Chevrolet competed in Indy-style racing from 1986 through 1993, winning 86 races, 80 poles and five series championships.
"GM Racing is developing a new Chevrolet Indy Racing engine for 2002 based on GM Powertrain's Premium V engine platform and on the series' current technical requirements," said Joe Negri, GM Racing IRL/Road Racing Group manager. "The Chevrolet Indy Racing engine we will introduce next year will be significantly different from the current Oldsmobile IRL engine, with improved efficiency and higher output. This project will also accelerate our development program as we make the transition to the new IRL engine rules that will take effect in 2003."
General Motors has been an engine supplier in the Indy Racing League since the series introduced its naturally aspirated engine formula in January 1997. Oldsmobile IRL Aurora V8 engines have won 41 of 42 races (including five straight Indianapolis 500 victories) and have swept the IRL championships four straight years. Oldsmobile will continue to race in the IRL through the end of the 2001 season. GM is committed to the IRL as an engine supplier through at least 2005.
"Oldsmobile will continue its full participation in the Indy Racing League's 2001 season," said Debra Kelly-Ennis, Oldsmobile general manager. "Oldsmobile intends to continue as the dominant force in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series for the remainder of this season, and we plan to finish in winning style with a fifth consecutive Engine Manufacturer championship."
The red Bowtie has long been a symbol of success in American motorsports. No other car or truck manufacturer can match the number of NASCAR, NHRA, road racing and off-road championships that Chevrolet has won.
"Chevrolet's return to open-wheel racing is great news for racing fans who have missed Chevy's presence in this very prestigious race circuit," said Ritter. "We're proud to be back . . . and we look forward to powering future winners of races like the Indy 500 for many years to come."
Chevrolet Indy Racing Fast Facts
Louis Chevrolet, co-founder and namesake of the Chevrolet Motor Division, was a noted race car driver and engineer in the early days of the automobile. He competed in the Indianapolis 500 four times, with a best finish of seventh in 1919. His brother Gaston won the Indianapolis 500 in 1920.
Chevrolet announced its previous Indy engine program on October 15, 1984. The Chevy Indy V8 made its competition debut in Phoenix on April 6, 1986. Mario Andretti scored the Chevy Indy V8's first victory in Long Beach, Calif., on April 5, 1987. Paul Tracy scored Chevrolet's last Indy car victory in Monterey, Calif., on October 3, 1993.
Eleven drivers won a total of 86 victories with Chevy Indy V8 engines from 1987-93. Emerson Fittipaldi was the most prolific Chevrolet driver with 18 victories.
<pre> Chevrolet powered the winning driver in the Indianapolis 500 six straight years: 1988 Rick Mears 1989 Emerson Fittipaldi 1990 Arie Luyendyk 1991 Rick Mears 1992 Al Unser Jr. 1993 Emerson Fittipaldi
Chevrolet drivers won the PPG Indy Car World Series championship five consecutive years: 1988 Danny Sullivan 1989 Emerson Fittipaldi 1990 Al Unser Jr. 1991 Michael Andretti 1992 Bobby Rahal
Chevrolet has paced the Indianapolis 500 12 times, more than any other brand: 1999 Monte Carlo 1998 Corvette 1995 Corvette 1993 Camaro Z28 1990 Beretta 1986 Corvette 1982 Camaro Z28 1978 Corvette 1969 Camaro 1967 Camaro 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air 1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster